Post-Game: How To Outwork A Young Turk

Well friends, it was one of those nights. A collection of perfect moments stacked on top of other perfect moments. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon that melted away into a decadent Saturday night, and with a national audience including in house appearances by Ron, Don, and Spike Lee (prove to me that he WASN’T there), your Calgary Flames put the cherry on top.

In case you didn’t notice, we had ourselves a little bit of a Battle of Alberta tonight, and true to form, it was a spirited tilt, where all the surrounding optics that usually follow teams over the course of the season fade, and the two provincial rivals, regardless of where they are in the course of their respective histories, combine to treat fans to some of the purest hovkey you will ever see. Tonight was just one more pristine example of how beautiful this game can be when two impassioned franchises rise above themselves and leave everything on the line.

The Flames, however, were just much much better this time around.

Get Off My Back, Monkey!

You’ve heard it all month now: "In a lockout shortened 48 game season, every game is important". Which is, I suppose, at least a little bit true. So it’s safe to say that when you’re playing your fourth game and still looking for your first win, well, YOU BETTER GET THAT FIRST WIN.

What better way to smash though that wall then by putting stick to the "good" forever rivals talking a big game up north? It’s cute when they talk like that, but the Flames did a good job of reminding them who was the babysitter and who was the baby tonight.

Mikael Backlund continued his mini-renaissance by opening the scoring in the first period by scoring a decidedly Ryan Smyth goal (which is to say, an ugly one). Jay Bouwmeester, who was an absolute bull tonight (you read that right), made it 2-0 after slipping one past a Jarome Iginla screened alleged starting goaltender Deven Dubnyk shortly after the Flames power play had expired.

The Oilers did make it worth watching before the end of the stanza as Anaheim’s Most Wanted Justin Schultz blasted a maybe questionable gun past Flames goalkeeper Miikka Kiprusoff who, unsurprisingly, was bananas good for most of the game.

That said, the Oilers did outchance the Flames in the beginning frame, putting up 6 chances to Calgary’s 4 (despite Calgary outshooting the Oilers 13-10 (13 shots in the first period! (!))), which is hilarious, because 2-1 Flames. What an organization.

From that point on, it was all Flames. Like if not for the fact that it was absolutely hilarious, it wouldn’t have even been funny.

Despite Jordan Eberle scoring the Oilers second PP goal of the night while Mark Giordano was sitting in the penalty box for watching Eberle fall over, it was about the only real shred of offense we’d see from those precious young children for the balance of the contest.

Curtis Glencross potted his third goal of the season to start the second, on a BONKERS dish from Jarome Iginla, and Lee Stempniak also cashed in his third (on an equally pretty pass by Bouwmeester) as his scheduled hot streak continues on over the early part of the campaign for the Flames. The boys in red outchanced the Oilers 9-4, outshot them 13(!)-4, and things started to get real dusty over on the Edmonton bench.

The third period was Calgary’s offering to let the Flames fans embrace themselves in the win, playing a tough defensive game that just shut down the vaunted Oiler’s still really kind of puny offensive efforts. The Oilers managed 20 shots to end the game along with 13 scoring chances, while the Flames finished the night with 18 chances, 35 shots, and most importantly, 2 points, while Flames head coach Bob Hartley earned his first of hopefully many wins as a Calgary Flame.

And golly, it was fun to watch.

J-Bo  Est J-Bon

That’s French, y’all.

While outside of Blake Comeau and to an extent Matt Stajan, neither of whom were particularly good, and Sven Baerstchi, who was limited to 5 minutes, presumably on purpose, most of the Flames played out of their skulls on this night. Lee Stempniak had a three point night, Iginla was a bull, and Kipper is as Kipper does (which is be awesome at things).

But Bouwmeester was the man on this one. Playing 24:01 of the most important minutes of the game (as always) (somehow the Flames leader in ice time was Dennis Wideman, so that’s a thing that happened), Bouwmeester had a goal and an assist and was all over the ice on both ends of the puck. He even led the odd rush, in Bobby Orrwellian fashion, which is a term I just made up. He looked very much like the player everyone expected to see when Stanley Cup Winner Darryl Sutter signed him to a six year eleventy billion dollar contract three seasons ago. He was worth the money tonight.

He even hit a couple of people, so get your smile on, Jay, you’ve been deemed pretty good at hockey by a panel of experts who were watching you tonight and are only mostly me on that panel.

Czechmate

One of the big stories going into the game (outside of it being the Battle of Alberta that the Oilers were supposedly going to decimate the Flames in, which is adorable, thanks for coming out Edmonton, you were all like puppies out there) was that the Flames were FINALLY going to get to debut their significant offseason acquisitions, Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka.

While Cervenka, who hadn’t played in a game since November, and has racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles flying between Russia, Calgary, Phoenix, and Mars over the past 10 days or so, looked unspectacular, which you might expect, but you can see that good things are coming. And that. freaking. rules.

Hudler, on the other hand, was all Black Crowes about it, being way to hard to for the Oilers to handle on this night, running roughshod over the Schultzes of the world and even assisted on Lee Stempniak’s game winning power play goal in the second.

The Czech forwards each played just under 18 minutes, and looked REALLY good when you consider they were centered by Matt Stajan, and they just made the Flames immediately better. The team has some depth now, and we’re all happy to be able to hear that word again without any hint of sarcasm for once.

Kent said it best on twitter: I can say the Flames can actually ice to two full PP units for the first time in recent memory.

I couldn’t agree more. This is not your father’s Calgary Flames. Assuming your father only started watching the Flames 4 years ago.

Look out for the Flames, Citizens, because they are on their way.

  • I was at the game last night. My thoughts:

    – The tripping call on Gio was total bullcrap, and he gave me the thumbs up while I was shouting at the ref about it (I was behind the home penalty box).

    – Yakupov was invisible. The only times I saw him were when his thick eye brows were staring directly into my soul. Not good for a player that’s supposed to be ballin’.

    – J Schultz looked like nothing special (other than that quick PPG).

    – Flames looked pretty good. I disagree that Matty Franchise did all that well, he seemed to just be coasting every time I saw him.

    – Cammy’s troubles seem to be two-fold. He’s trying too hard, but the Oilers were also all over him every time he got the puck. Cammy needs to find an open space and wait for the one-timer feed. Do what he does best.

    – I love the Oilers vs Flames talk. Both teams are sort of terrible right now, so hearing fans of both teams talking about the Cup is a joke.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Why is Bouwmeester so much better this season?

    Several potential seasons:

    1. A better partner in Giordano. It may be that as Giordano’s game improves, so does Bouwmeester’s potential as aN offensive threat, as he takes more risks.

    2. His TOI has been limited to less than 30 minutes per game. Logging the kind of time he has over the last 3 seasons and you can’t blame him for pacing himself game in and game out. He was a force because he seems to pushing harder and again taking more risks.

    3. He is the beneficiary of a team system that takes advantage of his natural tools, and has the coaches blessing to use them.
    – under Brent Sutter, you can bet he would have been crucified for not having a defense first mentality.

    4. His shot looks to have improved. Maybe just my eye, but it appears to have more strength behind it. Did he hit the gym?

    5. Please don’t let this one be true, but it’s possible that this is simply a small sample of 4 games, and it won’t continue. PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE.

    • Please don’t let this one be true, but it’s possible that this is simply a small sample of 4 games, and it won’t continue. PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE.

      This is a huge caveat. Remember, JayBo looked fairly awful in the first couple of games this year.

      I hope this persists however.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Whether Bouwmeester’s awesomeness persists or not, you can tell that he’s a different player under Hartley. He joined the rush on practically every shift, he was engaged on the (every) play, and he KEPT HIS FEET MOVING.

    Also, I think Hartley loves Brodie.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    @Kent Wilson

    Glad to see Brodie in the top four, where he should be…

    Seriously though, he’s got some serious potential, he’s only going to get better.. very exciting for Calgary.

  • Kevin R

    Did not expect the performance we saw from the Flames. It was soooo nice to shut these Oiler mouth pieces up. Sick of all the hype too about how they are contenders now. They have some nice pieces but they dont know how to put it together, too worried about showing off their evident skills that got them their 1st over all status. Actually, the media hype is feeding this individualistic play even more.

    I think we need to realize as sweet as this win was, Oilers are an improved team but a team we should be ahead at the end of the season. They have some glaring deficiencies & fortunately their GM is a pussy who is too afraid to pull the trigger on a deal to get them to the next level.

    Now, I have read a lot of chatter on here about how the value of our old core players is so minimal, you have to wonder if it is even worth making any trades. The only way to increase value is for them to improve their play. A real oxymoron because why trade a player that playing great. I say sell high to the desperate. Just because JBO plays like the franchise player he was paid to be, what do we get next year, back to his previous 3 years? His value may never be higher in the next couple months. Iggy is obviously playing for a new contract. I have loved how he has played to start this year. When was the last year we saw him play like this out of the gate. If we dont have him resigned by end of March, guess what, we may get an unbelievable package for him. I know, we have all this excitement after last night, but boy oh boy, I really see opportunity knocking. JMO.

    I think we are better than the Av’s right now & another team like the Oilers & Flames that are going to be fighting in that 12-8th race as this season winds down. This is a game we should win & feel real good about. Chicago will be the real litmus test against one of the true contenders. Right now I agree with BOL & am savouring the quiet squirming over in Oil country. Expectation is a bitch & those boys are getting a taste of it for the first time in 5 years.

  • McRib

    I enjoyed the game last night but Stajan getting more ice time than Backlund and Baertschi – almost had more than them combined – is frustrating for me. That’s one thing I gotta say I liked about Brent Sutter – he disliked Stajan as much as I do…..

    Bury him on the fourth line with Comeau and Jones, or in press box where he belongs….

  • the forgotten man

    The Flames needed a dominate beat down performance…hopefully it will help in the confidence department.

    Devil’s advocate: we played arguably one of the worst teams in the western Conference…if we start manhandling the likes of LA, San Jose, Anaheim, St. Louis, Detroit, Vancouver, Minnesota, Dallas et al then I’ll be driving the bandwagon.

  • Can dome beers do a special guest appearance GDB whence next these teams play?

    FWIW this “battle” has become more a fabrication OUTSIDE of the ice hockey game itself.(has been for years) These teams show absolutely zero animosity for each other, beyond the fact that Jbo and Iggy seem to put a little extra TRY on for their home town team.
    And glenx for obvious reasons related to one klowe and some failed big game hunting exercise (or other) before the Oil resigned themselves to just sucking…. in the interest of acquiring a bunch of young (so called) skilled guys who all happen to be soft as cute bunnies.

    But I digress.

    Oil got worked, full marks to the flames and to Jbo for bringing it. Sadly… he doesnt play the oil every night and in all probability will revert back to jblow …… sadly. The guys tool kit is plumb full of good stuff…. he just cant seem to find it most nights. Maybe he needs glasses? Or sumthin.

    *fire ken king*

  • ChinookArchYYC

    What if:

    – Bouwmeester really is what he looked like last night.

    – Cervenka becomes a bonified center.

    – Brodie is capable at playing top 4 minutes.

    Is this enough for the team to make the playoffs? I get it, we’re talking buttons and bows, in the land of candycanes and chocolate. But, how good is this team, if last night becomes a normal pattern, and not just a single result?

  • T&A4Flames

    I had the pleasure of watching the game on the ski hill with some buddies who are Oiler fans (excepf for my wife). Here are a few comments and observations:

    “Where did the Bouwmeester guy come from, he’s been all over the ice”

    From my wife- “Iggy looks trimmer.” I agree with that.

    Taylor Hall was invisible. He gave up fhe puck evertime he touched it.

    Yaks plays like an individual, not a member of team. Same as in the WJC’s.

    Defensive pairings looked good last night. I was apprehensive of th Brodie/Wideman combo at 1st but they look good.

  • T&A4Flames

    I had the pleasure of watching the game on the ski hill with some buddies who are Oiler fans (excepf for my wife). Here are a few comments and observations:

    “Where did the Bouwmeester guy come from, he’s been all over the ice”

    From my wife- “Iggy looks trimmer.” I agree with that.

    Taylor Hall was invisible. He gave up fhe puck evertime he touched it.

    Yaks plays like an individual, not a member of team. Same as in the WJC’s.

    Defensive pairings looked good last night. I was apprehensive of th Brodie/Wideman combo at 1st but they look good.

  • T&A4Flames

    Definitely have to bring domebeers in for retribution on the next GDB. Justin writes a mean article, but dome is our king of caustic humour.

    Had a great time watching the game at a bar in Edmonton with my baertschi jers on and no one even tried to shank me. Win win.

  • icedawg_42

    Some day I’ll get to watch a full game! So maybe if Comeau doesn’t come around he gets slapped on the waiver wire and that opens up a spot for Sven? (yes I know they play opposite wings, but things move around)